Multimedia

Multimedia

Pancreatic cysts are sac-like pockets of fluid on or within your pancreas. The pancreas is a large organ located behind the stomach. It produces hormones and enzymes that help digest food.

Most pancreatic cysts aren't cancerous, and many don't cause symptoms. In fact, many pancreatic cysts technically aren't cysts at all. Called pseudocysts, these noncancerous (benign) pockets of fluids are lined with scar or inflammatory tissue, not the type of cells found in true cysts.

But some pancreatic cysts can be cancerous. Your doctor may want to take a sample of the pancreatic cyst fluid to determine if cancer cells are present.

Sometimes, your doctor may not be able to tell whether a cyst may become cancerous. Your doctor may recommend monitoring the cyst over time for changes in size or shape that may suggest the need to remove it surgically. Some cysts have a low potential for becoming cancerous, and your doctor may recommend watching them carefully.

Sep. 08, 2012